Tag: Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

Reasoning skills of large language models are often overestimated

When it comes to artificial intelligence, appearances can be deceiving. The mystery surrounding the inner workings of large language models (LLMs) stems from their vast size, complex training methods, hard-to-predict behaviors, and elusive interpretability. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) researchers recently peered into the proverbial magnifying glass to examine how LLMs fare […]

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MIT researchers introduce generative AI for databases

A new tool makes it easier for database users to perform complicated statistical analyses of tabular data without the need to know what is going on behind the scenes. GenSQL, a generative AI system for databases, could help users make predictions, detect anomalies, guess missing values, fix errors, or generate synthetic data with just a […]

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The tenured engineers of 2024

In 2024, MIT granted tenure to 11 faculty members across the School of Engineering. This year’s tenured engineers hold appointments in the departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS, which reports jointly to the School of Engineering and MIT Schwarzman College of Computing), Mechanical Engineering, […]

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Study reveals why AI models that analyze medical images can be biased

Artificial intelligence models often play a role in medical diagnoses, especially when it comes to analyzing images such as X-rays. However, studies have found that these models don’t always perform well across all demographic groups, usually faring worse on women and people of color. These models have also been shown to develop some surprising abilities. […]

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Arvind, longtime MIT professor and prolific computer scientist, dies at 77

Arvind Mithal, the Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at MIT, head of the faculty of computer science in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), and a pillar of the MIT community, died on June 17. Arvind, who went by the mononym, was 77 years old. A […]

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Understanding the visual knowledge of language models

You’ve likely heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but can a large language model (LLM) get the picture if it’s never seen images before? As it turns out, language models that are trained purely on text have a solid understanding of the visual world. They can write image-rendering code to generate complex […]

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Technique improves the reasoning capabilities of large language models

Large language models like those that power ChatGPT have shown impressive performance on tasks like drafting legal briefs, analyzing the sentiment of customer reviews, or translating documents into different languages. These machine-learning models typically use only natural language to process information and answer queries, which can make it difficult for them to perform tasks that […]

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Researchers use large language models to help robots navigate

Someday, you may want your home robot to carry a load of dirty clothes downstairs and deposit them in the washing machine in the far-left corner of the basement. The robot will need to combine your instructions with its visual observations to determine the steps it should take to complete this task. For an AI […]

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New algorithm discovers language just by watching videos

Mark Hamilton, an MIT PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science and affiliate of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), wants to use machines to understand how animals communicate. To do that, he set out first to create a system that can learn human language “from scratch.” “Funny enough, the key moment […]

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Helping robots grasp the unpredictable

When robots come across unfamiliar objects, they struggle to account for a simple truth: Appearances aren’t everything. They may attempt to grasp a block, only to find out it’s a literal piece of cake. The misleading appearance of that object could lead the robot to miscalculate physical properties like the object’s weight and center of mass, […]

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A technique for more effective multipurpose robots

Let’s say you want to train a robot so it understands how to use tools and can then quickly learn to make repairs around your house with a hammer, wrench, and screwdriver. To do that, you would need an enormous amount of data demonstrating tool use. Existing robotic datasets vary widely in modality — some […]

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Looking for a specific action in a video? This AI-based method can find it for you

The internet is awash in instructional videos that can teach curious viewers everything from cooking the perfect pancake to performing a life-saving Heimlich maneuver. But pinpointing when and where a particular action happens in a long video can be tedious. To streamline the process, scientists are trying to teach computers to perform this task. Ideally, […]

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Robotic palm mimics human touch

“I’ll have you eating out of the palm of my hand” is an unlikely utterance you’ll hear from a robot. Why? Most of them don’t have palms. If you have kept up with the protean field, gripping and grasping more like humans has been an ongoing Herculean effort. Now, a new robotic hand design developed […]

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Janabel Xia: Algorithms, dance rhythms, and the drive to succeed

Senior math major Janabel Xia is a study of a person in constant motion. When she isn’t sorting algorithms and improving traffic control systems for driverless vehicles, she’s dancing as a member of at least four dance clubs. She’s joined several social justice organizations, worked on cryptography and web authentication technology, and created a polling app that […]

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Scientists use generative AI to answer complex questions in physics

When water freezes, it transitions from a liquid phase to a solid phase, resulting in a drastic change in properties like density and volume. Phase transitions in water are so common most of us probably don’t even think about them, but phase transitions in novel materials or complex physical systems are an important area of […]

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New tool empowers users to fight online misinformation

Most people agree that the spread of online misinformation is a serious problem. But there is much less consensus on what to do about it. Many proposed solutions focus on how social media platforms can or should moderate content their users post, to prevent misinformation from spreading. “But this approach puts a critical social decision […]

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Five MIT faculty elected to the National Academy of Sciences for 2024

The National Academy of Sciences has elected 120 members and 24 international members, including five faculty members from MIT. Guoping Feng, Piotr Indyk, Daniel J. Kleitman, Daniela Rus, and Senthil Todadri were elected in recognition of their “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” Membership to the National Academy of Sciences is one of the […]

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A better way to control shape-shifting soft robots

Imagine a slime-like robot that can seamlessly change its shape to squeeze through narrow spaces, which could be deployed inside the human body to remove an unwanted item. While such a robot does not yet exist outside a laboratory, researchers are working to develop reconfigurable soft robots for applications in health care, wearable devices, and […]

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Exploring the mysterious alphabet of sperm whales

The allure of whales has stoked human consciousness for millennia, casting these ocean giants as enigmatic residents of the deep seas. From the biblical Leviathan to Herman Melville’s formidable Moby Dick, whales have been central to mythologies and folklore. And while cetology, or whale science, has improved our knowledge of these marine mammals in the […]

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Creating bespoke programming languages for efficient visual AI systems

A single photograph offers glimpses into the creator’s world — their interests and feelings about a subject or space. But what about creators behind the technologies that help to make those images possible?  MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Associate Professor Jonathan Ragan-Kelley is one such person, who has designed everything from tools […]

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HPI-MIT design research collaboration creates powerful teams

The recent ransomware attack on ChangeHealthcare, which severed the network connecting health care providers, pharmacies, and hospitals with health insurance companies, demonstrates just how disruptive supply chain attacks can be. In this case, it hindered the ability of those providing medical services to submit insurance claims and receive payments. This sort of attack and other […]

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Three from MIT named 2024-25 Goldwater Scholars

MIT students Ben Lou, Srinath Mahankali, and Kenta Suzuki have been selected to receive Barry Goldwater Scholarships for the 2024-25 academic year. They are among just 438 recipients from across the country selected based on academic merit from an estimated pool of more than 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, approximately 1,350 of whom were nominated […]

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Julie Shah named head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Julie Shah ’04, SM ’06, PhD ’11, the H.N. Slater Professor in Aeronautics and Astronautics, has been named the new head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro), effective May 1. “Julie brings an exceptional record of visionary and interdisciplinary leadership to this role. She has made substantial technical contributions in the field of […]

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Study demonstrates efficacy of MIT-led Brave Behind Bars program

Several years ago, a team of scientists from MIT and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell designed and deployed a first-of-its-kind web programming course for incarcerated individuals across multiple correctional facilities. The program, Brave Behind Bars, uses virtual classroom technology to deliver web design training to students behind prison walls. The program brought together men […]

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Mapping the brain pathways of visual memorability

For nearly a decade, a team of MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) researchers have been seeking to uncover why certain images persist in a people’s minds, while many others fade. To do this, they set out to map the spatio-temporal brain dynamics involved in recognizing a visual image. And now for the […]

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To build a better AI helper, start by modeling the irrational behavior of humans

To build AI systems that can collaborate effectively with humans, it helps to have a good model of human behavior to start with. But humans tend to behave suboptimally when making decisions. This irrationality, which is especially difficult to model, often boils down to computational constraints. A human can’t spend decades thinking about the ideal […]

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For more open and equitable public discussions on social media, try “meronymity”

Have you ever felt reluctant to share ideas during a meeting because you feared judgment from senior colleagues? You’re not alone. Research has shown this pervasive issue can lead to a lack of diversity in public discourse, especially when junior members of a community don’t speak up because they feel intimidated. Anonymous communication can alleviate […]

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A blueprint for making quantum computers easier to program

When MIT professor and now Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) member Peter Shor first demonstrated the potential of quantum computers to solve problems faster than classical ones, he inspired scientists to imagine countless possibilities for the emerging technology. Thirty years later, though, the quantum edge remains a peak not yet reached. Unfortunately, the […]

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